Kano computer kit can be assembled in seconds

A simple computer that can be easily assembled and function as a introduction to computers. An ambitious project that I like. If the OLPC offers any insight, it’s that this won’t be easy to pull off. Still, it’s a good concept that I hope succeeds. The good news is that it has already reached its funding goal many times over, so step one is done.

Crowdfund this: the Kano computer you can build in 107 seconds

At its heart, Kano is essentially a Raspberry Pi kit but it goes further by providing a plug-and-play learning environment that anyone, including children as young as eight, can get up and running within minutes.

Asking for $100,000 in funding on Kickstarter, Kano is available as a kit for a $99 pledge, or for a $199 “get one, give one” pledge funders will get one for themselves and one will be donated to a sponsored child.

LINE passes the 300 million user mark, aims for 500 million in 2014

Line is a major player in the mobile messaging space in Asia and is one of the leading companies to popularize the sales of messaging stickers. While stickers, or emoticons as we used to call them, might sound insignificant, the fact that Line is pulling in over $10 million a month just from sticker sales is something worth taking note of. If the user base continues to grow at this pace, 2014 is going to be a great year for LINE.

Fast-growing chat app Line leaves the US until last, as it passes 300 million registered users

The company has been aiming to hit the milestone before the end of the year, and it’s made it with over a month still to go, as an official announcement confirms. There has been plenty of talk about a multi-billion dollar IPO — with some rumors suggesting it would follow the 300 million user announcement — but Han says the company has no comment on the speculation.

Apple acquires PrimeSense for $360 million

Apple Insider reports that Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet has confirmed that Apple acquired PrimeSense in deal rumoured to be worth $360 million

PrimeSense makes 3D motion sensors and scanners. It created the technology used by Microsoft’s Kinect. It is anyone’s guess whether this will end up in a future version existing product or if it will be part of a completely new product from Apple.

Only 25% of Yahoo staff are willing to dogfood Yahoo Mail

When you’re a technology company, using your own product (a.k.a. eating your own dogfood) is more or less essential. Perhaps it’s because Yahoo is still transitioning to the Marissa Mayer era, but if Yahoo Mail is going to be a competitive product again, the Yahoo employees had better start picking it up.

Clinging to Outlook, Only 25 Percent of Yahoo Employees Willing to Eat Mail “Dogfood” (Best Memo Ever!)

As has been widely reported, a relentless and vocal group of Yahoo Mail users have been complaining vociferously after the Silicon Valley Internet giant drastically revamped its popular Mail service in October. The ire includes a lot of distress over the removal of its tabs function and the addition of a multi-tasking feature in its place.

NSA infected over 50,000 networks worldwide

The NSA isn’t exactly at the top of everybody’s Christmas list at the moment, and it doesn’t look like the situation is getting any better. Considering the recent leaks, it’s honestly not surprising that the the agency has infected as many as 50,000 networks, but it’s still a very disturbing thought.

NSA Has 50,000 ‘Digital Sleeper Agents’ Via Computer Malware, Says Latest Snowden Leak

Sleeper agents are among the most sinister spy assets: they lie in wait, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and then deliver a critical blow when activated. The NSA has 50,000 of those waiting for the literal push of a button, according to the latest batch of leaked Snowden documents, as seen by Dutch daily evening newspaper NRC. But these aren’t people, like Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys in The Americans – these are computers, infected with malware and untroubled by conscience or the risk of going native.

The NSA reportedly infected 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software with the sole aim of harvesting sensitive information it wasn’t privy to, which is basically what you’d call textbook spy work in the digital age, from an agency tasked with spying. That’s not to excuse or dismiss the significance of this revelation, but we’ve heard from the Washington Post previously that the NSA was working on this sort of thing and that at least 20,000 computers had been infected by the program as of 2008. So to hear from Snowden documents via the NRC that it’s now climbed to 50,000 is hardly surprising.

64-bit Android on Intel coming next year

CNET reports on Android and Intel partnering to bring 64-bit to the platform.

People who were saying 64-bit iOS being a useless gimmick are now gushing over 64-bit Android that might be out next year. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my 64-bit iPhone 5s.

Message encryption coming to Office 365 in early 2014

While there is still a lot of concern over the NSA having access to data from large technology companies, one of the best tools for end users to protect their privacy would be proper encryption. Offering message encryption on Office 365 is a good step in that direction.

Microsoft Bringing Message Encryption To Office 365 In Early 2014

In the age of pervasive data abduction by government agency, keeping your private stuff private is an increasingly important issue. The addition of message encryption to Office 365 is therefore on point, and potentially very useful.

The system is neat: Once administrators turn it on, emails that are sent are encrypted before they are fired out, meaning that they only leave the house after they put a jacket on. The recipient receives an email that has an encrypted attachment. That’s the message.

Nokia begins its long road to recovery

With much of it sold to Microsoft, Nokia will probably never be the same again. The next chapter in the Finnish company’s history will depend on how well it can reinvent itself.

Nokia, Once The World’s Biggest Mobile-Phone Maker, Is Planning The Next Bounceback

Nokia is also keen to talk up its other two businesses. The larger is HERE, its highly regarded maps division, which has most of the market for navigation systems built into cars. The smaller, Advanced Technologies, will have the job of licensing Nokia’s thousands of patents and coming up with more bright ideas. Risto Siilasmaa, the chairman and acting chief executive, calls it “our innovation engine”. Most of the uncertainty about Nokia’s future has to do with how well this engine fires.

Twitter boosts security with forward secrecy

The battle for privacy continues.

Forward Secrecy at Twitter

On top of the usual confidentiality and integrity properties of HTTPS, forward secrecy adds a new property. If an adversary is currently recording all Twitter users’ encrypted traffic, and they later crack or steal Twitter’s private keys, they should not be able to use those keys to decrypt the recorded traffic.

Sir Richard Branson believes in Bitcoin

Many people are still skeptical about Bitcoin at this point, but the recent high of $900 has certainly increased interest in the cryptocurrency. Now Bitcoin has a new supporter, none other than the maverick Sir Richard Branson himself.

Whether you’re planning to invest in it; mine it; or ignore it, it’s probably a good idea to find out more about it.

In his own words:

Bitcoins in space

I have invested in some bitcoins myself, and find it fascinating how a whole new global currency has been created. For people who can afford to invest a little in bitcoins, it’s worth looking into.